Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens are half as likely to play sport as straight youth.
The study has also found the trend has been getting worse over the past 15 years.
Researchers found five out of 10 students in grades 7 to 12 (13 to 18 years old) played on sports teams in 1998.
But 15 years later, they found only three out of 10 gay students are interested in being in a sports team in 2013.
‘In every year we measured, LGB youth were about half as likely, or even less, to participate in coached sports than straight youth were,’ said Elizabeth Saewyc, senior author of the study and UBC professor.
‘And unfortunately, that gap has persisted and even widened over time.’
The same decline was similar for lesbian and bisexual teens, and did not study trans youth. They studied research that included over 90,000 students.
Saewyc believes stigma and discrimination in sports clubs play a role.
‘The decline in participation in both informal and coached sports tells us that there should be a range of exercise opportunities for young people who may not want to play traditional team sports,’ the researchers added.
They urged sports programs address the needs of LGB teens, and for parents and coaches to receive training to navigate homophobia.